Golf Digest readers weren’t happy about Paige Spiranac’s surfing lesson with Anastasia Ashley

Two beautiful women deploy the winning strategy of joining forces to the delight of thousands of slobbering men.

One indisputable fact of publishing: sex sells. Even Don Draper was late to the party on this one; the whiskey-swirling, dart-smoking perv that he is. It’s no coincidence that Paige Spiranac is the most followed woman in golf, possessing ten-times the social media capital of Lydia Ko. The same could be said for Anastasia Ashely, a professional surfer who offered to give Paige a lesson.

This babe @anastasiaashley?? Can’t wait for my surf lessons! #dinnerdate

A photo posted by Paige Spiranac (@_paige.renee) on

With 1.2 million followers, some have criticised Miss Ashley for shameless self-promotion at the expense of women’s surfing. Commenting after Miss Ashley’s “Sun’s Out, Bun’s Out” feature at a professional event “The Inertia” had this to say:

“Now, I champion the rights of individuals to express and responsibly act on their sexuality in whatever way they please…” “But as the regular commentators attempted to stamp Ms. Ashley as a sex symbol, they succeeded only in reducing female surfers everywhere to their base sexuality through cheap innuendo.”

For many, the problem with the LPGA TOUR lies in the commitment of  women to play, watch and promote their sport with the same avidity as men. However, this is a simplified conclusion. The PGA TOUR had a head start, and fervour tends to flourish where it spawns.

It’s not fair to compare participation and television numbers between the the two TOURS and comment: “It’s capitalism.” This ignores all those little girls who weren’t given the chance to play golf, historically, and the hangover from this generational misgiving will take some time to repair.

My concern is that Paige assembles, through the sexualised sport she propagates, a roadblock for the less “sexy.” She is both important and damaging – and I suspect it’s the latter.

Who am I to criticise an individual’s right to express their sexuality, but masquerading as a professional golfer at the expense of the women’s game is callous.

Perhaps Paige would consider using her enormous social presence to champion one of the many talents in the women’s game? Why not share the spotlight with Lydia Ko? All it would take was one poxy Instagram post.

Golf Digest, the pantheon of golf writing, has come under fire for the sexualised nature of their editorial strategy. I’m amazed they find the time to work given the perpetuity of their arousal.


The inglorious history of women on the cover of Golf Digest

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